With the October 2021 Northgate shakeup of transit service still ahead, agencies are already looking at what changes will be made to service in spring and fall of 2022. King County Metro and Sound Transit both have service increase proposals for 2022, and both take decidedly different approaches.
King County Metro – Restoring old service and monitoring ridership
King County Metro is taking a conservative approach to restoring service. Rather than making sweeping changes to the network based on assumptions about future ridership, Metro will restore pre-COVID service (with a few exceptions), and see where ridership goes. Starting with the spring 2022 service change, Metro will bring partial or full service to every route that remains suspended after 2021, meaning no routes will be fully suspended at this point. In fall 2022, the tentative plan is to restore full pre-pandemic service. Of course, many details are to be determined. The
Metro County Council staff report notes that Metro intends to fine-tune service in fall 2022 and spring 2023, and these changes are anticipated to be within bounds of its administrative authority (which allows Metro to change up to 25% of the routes service hours, move stops up to half a mile, and renumber routes). Since the spring 2023 service change is anticipated to be minor, larger changes to service would likely occur in fall 2023.
Of course, not all pre-pandemic service will be restored. For one, some service was deleted as part of service restructures (the North Eastside Mobility Project in March 2020, the Renton-Kent-Auburn Mobility Project in September 2020, and the upcoming North Link Connections project in October). One other route (route 628) is deleted on its own. And lastly, Metro’s “full” restoration does not include STBD-funded service, which is planned separately from baseline county-provided service (since it’s funded by the city of Seattle and not Metro). This will mean that some busy Seattle routes will have less service than pre-pandemic, and route 47 (which was 100% funded by the STBD) will not be restored at all in 2022 (but may be restored later once STBD revenues pick back up, as it’s still suspended rather than deleted).
Sound Transit – Respond to new service patterns
Sound Transit, on the other hand, is responding immediately to apparent shifts in ridership away from peak-oriented service and toward all-day service. Aside from services increases on South Sounder and Tacoma Link (which will also be extended to Hilltop in 2022), there are no increases in peak-hour service proposed. This means that all ST Express service increases in 2022 are all in midday, evening, and weekend service, and none of the suspended routes as of 2022 (which are ST Express routes 541, 544, 555, and 567) will be restored.
Tacoma Link extension to Hilltop
Tacoma Link, which runs 1.6 miles from Tacoma Dome Station to Theater District Station, will be extended 2.4 miles north, around the Stadium district, and then south to Hilltop. At this time, it will be renamed to Line T to follow the new line naming scheme, and fares will begin being collected (it is currently fare free, with support from local businesses). Upon opening of the extension, Sound Transit is considering increasing service frequencies from every 12 minutes to every 10 during the day and on Saturdays, and from every 24 minutes to every 20 on Sundays and weekday evenings.
Sound Transit is renaming Sounder South to the S Line, and Sounder North to the N Line. They will also likely be restoring the remainder of suspended trips on the S Line in 2022, bringing the S Line to pre-pandemic levels. No changes are proposed to the N Line, however, leaving the little-used Sounder line with just two hourly trips in each direction.
In 2022, Sound Transit will make major changes to midday and weekend service in multiple corridors. In northeast King County, route 535 is getting Sunday service, and headways on both Saturdays and Sundays will improve to every 30 minutes (currently it runs every 60 minutes on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays). Route 535 will also see its midday weekday service restored (also going from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes). Route 560, which currently runs hourly on weekends, is also getting its frequency increased to every 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. This (along with the same change to route 578) marks the end of any all-day service corridors running hourly service during the day, giving all these corridors half-hourly service or better.
Service to Tacoma and Federal Way would be getting a big upgrade. While up to now, off-peak frequency for both of these corridors maxed out at every 30 minutes outside of peak hours, Sound Transit’s proposed 2022 service plan would give both corridors service every 15 minutes all day, 7 days per week, with service dropping to half-hourly in the evenings, and then hourly in the late evenings. Route 578 to Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup is also getting its frequency doubled to every 30 minutes on weekends. To Tacoma, this means adding route 590 trips to/from downtown Tacoma in between route 594 trips (which continue to Lakewood every half-hour off-peak), with both routes combining for 15-minute frequency to/from downtown Tacoma. For Federal Way, this will look like both route 577 and 578 going from hourly to half-hourly, with both routes combining for 15-minute headways from Federal Way. With light rail to Federal Way still three years away (and light rail to Tacoma likely 11 years away, based on how well it’s been performing in the realignment proposals), getting off-peak frequent service as early as next year is a big win and will do a lot to build ridership in these fast-growing corridors.
Serivce on route 592 will get slower, with added stops at Tacoma Dome Station and on the SODO busway. This is to introduce a new direct connection between DuPont and Tacoma, and to allow new connections to the newly-extended Link Line T. While potentially helpful to a subset of future riders (or current riders who transfer to connecting service at SR 512 P&R), this will make an already nearly 2-hour journey for DuPont passengers (and a still painful one for Lakewood passengers) even worse. Non-stop service from Lakewood to the middle of downtown Seattle, getting riders through the worst of I-5 through the Tacoma Dome, would end. I certainly hope that if this change ends up happening, that ST times route 592 to connect with Sounder at Lakewood Station, to allow DuPont riders to take advantage of the commuter rail service already available to bypass heavy traffic worsened by perpetual construction.
Route 550 is getting frequent service on Sundays. By slightly decreasing peak service service frequency on weekdays (from every 8-10 minutes to 9-10 minutes), Sound Transit is able to bring Sunday service from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes. This change goes to show just how expensive weekday peak service is, in part because of congestion requiring more service hours, but also because there are just more weekdays than weekends. So closing a frequent service gap that exists on Sunday only is relatively painless. As a result, route 550 riders no longer have to wait until Link Line 2 opens in 2023 for frequent all-day service.
Lastly, route 574 is getting a longer span of service to help airport commuters. As one of the few suburban routes that get good usage in the middle of the night, it’s good that Sound Transit is recognizing the unique needs of this route and making it easier for South Sound commuters to get to their jobs at the airport. Now we just need an overnight Link bus for people coming from the north.
With Sound Transit and Metro taking different approaches to service restoration, 2022 will be an interesting year. We will see a mix of old peak service patterns that have served thousands of people for years, and new frequent service corridors to meet emerging needs. Every decision is a gamble on how the future will go, but it will ultimately be up to riders, drivers, and voters to decide where things go from here.
99 Replies to “Metro and Sound Transit propose service increases in 2022”
Very glad to see service being restored, and especially to see the STX Tacoma and Eastside changes! And, I can’t criticize Metro too much for being slow about restructuring, given that it’s still unclear how things are going to shake out long-term.
(And I hope that Sound Transit is getting a discount from BNSF for the suspended Sounder trips.)
However, I’m sorry to see route 567 staying suspended. It’s an important all-HOT bypass to a huge slowdown in Renton. With I-405 already clogging, and Microsoft (and other Bellevue businesses) bringing people back to the office this fall, I suspect it’ll be needed in a couple months even if not now.
Will the impending opening of the South Bellevue garage (1500 spaces) create a surge of riders on ST Express 550 leading to overcrowding? Will some park-and-ride riders shift from Mercer Island to South Bellevue?
As the pandemic travel suppression wanes, it will be interesting to see if or how service adjustments occur.
I don’t think so. 1500 spaces just isn’t enough to make that happen, even if they do all fill up. Plus, today, south Bellevue and Eastgate are mostly interchangeable park and rides for catching a bus to Seattle, at least during peak hours. That will change dramatically in 2023, when south Bellevue gets the train and Eastgate gets merely a bus to the train.
At that point, the lions share of drivers who park at Eastgate today will try to switch to south Bellevue, but that won’t work well, as South Bellevue garage isn’t big enough to include everybody who parked in 2019 at Eastgate, plus Issaquah, combined. One thing that would help somewhat is a restructuring of local bus service to provide one seat rides to the nearest Link station from more neighborhoods. Unlike DT, I think a simple bus->train connection can work – if the bus rubs often enough. But expecting anyone to ride a bus to Eastgate, then another bus to South Bellevue, then the train to Seattle, IMHO, is rediculous. It is also important that the feeder bus does not go out of the way. For everyone south of I-90, the bus/train connection point to Seattle should be South Bellevue or Mercer Island, not downtown Bellevue or Overlake, which means some form of restructure is due for the 240, at least, and probably more (the 241 already serves south Bellevue). From north of I-90, they can connect at wherever is closest.
The fate of Eastgate after Link opens will be curious. It’s also affected by whatever the finalized Mercer Island agreement is (a bus can’t safely use both the Eastgate median ramps and the South Bellevue stop).
Eastgate and South Bellevue are as interchangeable as the Northgate and Greenlake P&Rs, i.e. not that interchangeable. Eastgate is actually quite difficult to get to from I90 if you aren’t an HOV driver; the time penalty to navigate from Exit 11 to the P&R can be nearly 10 minutes during rush hour. I would imagine once ridership settles out post East Link opening, the catchment area for the two P&Rs will look very different, with Eastgate drawing from the adjacent residential neighborhoods (which have good access to the P&R), while S Bellevue will draw from across the broader eastside (due to the excellent access to Seattle & Bellevue CBD).
Similarly, most drivers who use Issaquah P&R are either already in Issaquah or further south (it gets many people south of the Alps coming up 900). Many of those riders presumably are using the P&R because they don’t want to drive on the freeway and will stick with a 216 route rather than slog through I90 congestion to get to S Bellevue. Even with the transfer penalty, during rush hour I think it will be consistently faster to park in Issaquah and take the bus to MI or S Bellevue than it will be to drive from Issaquah to the SB P&R
asdf2 and Al both touch on an issue I have discussed before: feeder service to East Link, in a huge and undense part of the county.
First, it is probable that cross lake ridership on East Link will be much less post-pandemic than originally estimated by ST. Ridership on the 550 was down 1/3 pre-pandemic. Closure of the S. Bellevue Park and Ride and being moved out of DSTT probably contributed to that steep decline. WFH will probably cause a 20% to 25% loss of cross-lake ridership, both due to WFH and to more commuters driving to work on staggered schedules or working on the eastside.
Second, you have to understand that on the eastside many commuters begin their first/last mile access in a car, to a park and ride. That is their first “seat”. Metro does not come close to their front door.
They won’t drive to a park and ride to catch a feeder bus (second seat) to catch the train across the lake (third seat), especially if a fourth seat is necessary to get to SLU or First Hill. They will drive to the nearest East Link station, which will oversubscribe those park and rides, cause huge congestion in S. Bellevue — exactly what Bellevue did not want with the bus intercept — and will undersubscribe all the other huge park and rides ST has built on the eastside not served by East Link.
Third, it is critical to understand no one likes to commute to work, in a car or on transit. So that worker will use any trick in the book to not commute to work, and the pandemic has made that much easier.
Everyone is waiting to see how the reopening of the S. Bellevue 1500 stall park and ride affects ridership on the 550, and the congestion, especially during peak times, except it now probably won’t be until 2022 that any kind of work-in-the-office returns.
I think the solution is pretty obvious (and may be necessary due to the litigation with MI that could restrict the number of feeder buses that access MI per peak hour): continue some express ST buses along the I-90 corridor directly to downtown Seattle (and SLU), because that is where 99.8% of all eastside commuters are going, if going west.
If Lake City is getting express commuter buses you can be sure Issaquah will, if Issaquah (or Bellevue) demands them, and continuing express buses solves all of ST’s and Metro’s issues with East Link.
First, the eastside subarea has too much revenue, so that is not an issue. Metro has the funding issue, and reallocating Metro bus feeder service to ST express service helps that.
Second it resolves the litigation with MI because there will be much fewer feeder buses on MI.
Third it relieves the pressure on park and rides serving East Link — especially S. Bellevue because it has 1500 stalls — and the enormous congestion at those locations (including 405 and Bellevue Way) because once in a car an eastside commuter is not going to drive to a park and ride to catch a feeder bus to a station served by East Link (and post-pandemic might just drive to work and demand subsidized parking). What many don’t understand is few areas, especially S. Bellevue, can really handle the congestion from a 1500 stall park and ride when all the traffic will be 2 hours in the am and 2 in the pm.
Fourth it makes use of the very large park and rides along I-90 not served by East Link.
Fifth, it removes a political and public relations issue ST does not need at this time, certainly in this subarea. Ross noted it before: eastside commuters from Issaquah and along I-90 are very good at organizing, starting online petitions, showing up at council meetings, and complaining.
The next three years should be a kind of honeymoon for ST. Northgate Link will open, East Link will open, and Federal Way/Lynnwood Link. That is good stuff (which is why I have never understood why ST raised its ST 3 funding issues in N. King Co. at this time when there really isn’t any remedy, and the deficits are so far out in the future as are the projects).
Finally, although many transit advocates or Urbanists might not understand it, Seattle cannot afford to lose a large portion of eastside workers commuting to Seattle, and all that sales tax revenue.
Yes, commuters being asked to add one or two seats to their commute will complain to their city councils, but they will also complain to their employers, and a lot of those large employers now have major office complexes on the eastside, and have to decide where to increase their future space, in Seattle or on the eastside. If they simply shift their whiny eastside workers to their eastside offices that is not good for Seattle or transit.
The only way ST could screw up East Link in a subarea with more than enough money for any solution is through arrogance and ideology. No, the eastside is not going to change its zoning, the planned TOD’s along East Link are not really transit oriented, yes east King Co. is huge and East Link serves a tiny sliver of it, yes this is car country, and yes no one wants to commute on transit to downtown Seattle (or Bellevue).
Around 99.9999% of eastsiders have no clue about subarea equity or east King Co. subarea reserves or funding. I think I am the only eastsider who has complained about the eastside subarea paying 100% of east-west express buses to Seattle, although I understand why. The additional cost to continue to run some express commuter buses to Seattle will never be noticed.
But if eastside commuters are told to drive to a park and ride to catch a bus to catch a train that doesn’t even go to SLU or First Hill, or all the park and rides that serve East Link are full by 7 am, that they will notice, and raise holy hell, and East Link will look like a failure out of the box.
ST is stupid, arrogant, and ideological enough to let this problem arise, despite plenty of money in the subarea, but maybe the recent cost estimating and elimination (oops, extension) of ST 3 projects in N. King Co. has created some humility, or at least smarts.
FYI Al S., the 556 has used the South Bellevue (Bellevue Way on ramp) and Eastgate P&R HOV off-ramp for years, it’s very much possible and safe if it becomes necessary for East Link. It would certainly be annoying though.
What makes the most sense is to send a lot of express buses to Mercer Island. Many of the buses will swing by Eastgate, which means that users of that park and ride would have a frequent connection, while plenty of other riders can go to a closer park or ride, or avoid one completely. That would be the case for just about everything east of Eastgate (Sammamish and Issaquah). My guess is Factoria will be connected to South Bellevue and downtown Bellevue via Bellevue Way, replacing service on the 550. This may have decent frequency during the day, but will certainly have good frequency during rush hour (both directions) . That way commuters from South Bellevue can get to downtown Seattle or downtown Bellevue easily, while riders from Seattle can get to their job in Factoria.
What throws a wrench in everything is the whining by Mercer Island residents who want their cake and eat it too. They want the Link Station (with its quick connection to Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond) but don’t want buses connecting there, even though it is the logical spot.
It remains to be seen whether there will be additional express service to downtown Bellevue (other than what ST will provide). Downtown Bellevue is well suited for it, with the HOV lanes feeding very nicely into downtown. With Link, running a bus to downtown Bellevue also connects you to Redmond. But there isn’t much potential for new service, other than what ST will provide. I could maybe see a Bellevue-bound version of the 255. It could follow the 255 route through Juanita (giving riders there a one-seat connection to downtown Bellevue) go by the transit center, and then get on the freeway via 68th/70th. This could be peak-only, but bidirectional. I’m still not sure if it will pencil out. Express buses to downtown Bellevue haven’t been great performers in the past — maybe that will change, since the area has been booming.
Eastgate is actually quite difficult to get to from I90 if you aren’t an HOV driver
Right. I expect very few people will do that during rush hour. It just doesn’t make sense if you are starting from the east, since that is where the buses are coming from. It might make sense in the middle of the day (assuming it isn’t full). But then again, you might as well drive to South Bellevue.
I would imagine once ridership settles out post East Link opening, the catchment area for the two P&Rs will look very different, with Eastgate drawing from the adjacent residential neighborhoods (which have good access to the P&R), while S Bellevue will draw from across the broader eastside (due to the excellent access to Seattle & Bellevue CBD).
But you still have to get there. Traffic crawls on the freeway, and for the most part, you have to get on the freeway to access that park and ride. It seems to me that if you are in Issaquah or Sammamish, you will go to an Issaquah or Sammamish Park and ride. Anywhere west and south of there though, and Eastgate seems like the best park and ride (assuming you don’t have a closer option). You can avoid the freeway quite easily (https://goo.gl/maps/1HiUtbppqzR1knjr8). That catchment area (which extends farther south) is quite large, although there are some small park and ride lots scattered around. If you are just north of Eastgate, then it looks like the best option (https://goo.gl/maps/zfN2Ko2MacYsSUG18). It is only when you get up to Lake Hills Connector that using South Bellevue sounds like a good idea. Even then, lots of people would be better off with Eastgate. The obvious catchment area for South Bellevue is west of the slough, which is relatively small.
The only reason for lots of people to drive to South Bellevue is to avoid a transfer. Time will tell if they hate the transfer more than they hate being stuck in traffic getting to the park and ride. Outside of rush hour, it will definitely be popular. During rush hour, I’m not so sure.
The inner accesses to the HOV lanes at 80th SE were created with the buses in mind. Sure; they’re available to carpool users as they certainly should be. But for some stupid reason, no ability to turn left from the off-ramp was included, so buses have to make an anti-clockwise parade around the station, boarding and alighting passengers on the wrong side of the street and making four left turns through five stoplights. Eightieth should be one-way southbound everywhere north of the eastbound on-ramp so buses could turn left. There are two northbound lanes, so one could still then feed traffic from the south end of the island into the HOV lanes while the other becomes a left turn bay at 27th. The buses could then circle the station with their doors facing the station and making right turns.
Island Crest Way is a short block to the east; drivers coming up it would just continue to North Mercer Way. I’d even investigate breaking through between the end of Sunset Highway to 80th and making a bus-only entrance to Sunset be the way to circle the station. The north side of Sunset is a park and could have several good bus stops and an overhead ramp to the station (which it should have anyway). It would also avoid two stoplights on 27th.
Who designed this idiocy? Don’t just fire him or her; ban the person or people from Washington State for life. [Yes, I know this can’t be done, but they deserve it.]
And if this raises hackles at the City Council, maybe the State should just abrogate Mercer Island’s incorporation, returning it to Unincorporated King County status. Then the County Council can make decisions about the bus intercept.
This could be an enormously valuable, county-wide asset and the the taxpayers in the rest of Washington and the nation have spent a damn big nickel over the decades lidding the freeway and adding other amenities for the benefit of the MOTU’s of the Moated Island. Time for some give-back.
Well Ross, my guess is working from home, and a switch to eastside workers working on the eastside and demanding subsidized parking, will solve MI’s complaints over the intensity of the bus intercept, despite the litigation.
Both Metro and MI are beginning to realize cross-lake ridership on East Link — from areas east of MI not served by East Link — will never require 20 articulated buses per peak hour. Metro made the same mistake so many others made: believing ST’s inflated ridership estimates used to sell levies when estimating the number of buses Metro would need for the MI intercept.
Throw in express buses to Seattle from areas along I-90 not served by East Link and the bus intercept on MI will likely be well below what MI has already agreed to, and is the number in the 2017 settlement agreement ST drafted and signed: 12 buses/peak hour, around the same as today, although the buses don’t disembark all their passengers on MI today.
If you believe that Lake City commuters who have some semblance of first/last mile access on Metro will get express buses but not Issaquah you don’t understand the $4.5 billion line from Issaquah to S. Kirkland (not the line itself which has no purpose, which I guess is the point, but the fact Issaquah got it as part of ST 3).
MI didn’t want a light rail station. It just sits between Seattle and Bellevue in the middle of Lake Washington. The design is typical ST/transit schlock, there is no first/last mile access, frequency is at best 8 minutes which is less than the combined buses, and it is no better than express buses using the center roadway or even the HOV lanes. We are fighting King Co.’s desire to upzone our residential neighborhoods to the north as a “CRT”.
People on the eastside just don’t care that much about transit, or switching from buses to rail (unless of course the switch makes commuting less convenient).
I still think MI will win the litigation, and it is going well for MI right now, because the settlement agreement ST drafted and signed in Nov. 2017 is pretty specific: no drop offs on the north side of North Mercer Way due to safety reasons, which alone restricts bus frequency on the south side to around 8-12 buses per hour.
But now that we understand how dishonest ST’s ridership estimates were on East Link cross-lake, and WFH and probably more subsidized parking for commuters, there is nothing to “win” (and MI probably missed a good opportunity to settle for some reserved park and ride space and help on SOV access from ICW). The number of peak hour buses will likely be less than MI has already agreed to (although serving as a bus layover area is a separate issue being litigated). You can already tell ST has lost interest in the litigation.
I highly doubt someone commuting from Issaquah will think driving to a park and ride and catching a bus to Mercer Island to hustle over to transfer to East Link is better than their prior one seat express bus from park and ride to Seattle, especially if they are going to SLU which a lot are (except most of those large employers now have huge eastside office complexes). But the real motivation by that commuter is to never commute again, to Seattle or Bellevue.
I also think you miss my real point about the express buses from Issaquah, which really has nothing to do with MI. Issaquah and Bellevue are big dogs on the eastside, and Issaquah commuters (those few who are left) won’t be happy with a transfer to a bus to a train that does not go to SLU, and Bellevue won’t be happy with all those commuters driving to the S. Bellevue Park and Ride, and ST really does not want a fight with Issaquah or Bellevue when East Link should be a win for ST.
But who knows. I joined this blog to learn about ST and transit for the bus intercept litigation. That seems like a lifetime ago, and the intercept on MI today seems like a very small issue whose outcome will be determined by much larger forces.
Henry is correct. From the Eastgate ramp a vehicle cannot access the 405 ramps but it can access S Bellevue Way.
I think Ross and I mostly agree; for “broader Eastside” I meant someone coming from like Renton or Snoqualmie (Sammamish residents will aim to use SE Redmond or Issaquah Highlands garages?). Within Bellevue, many residents will have good access to Eastgate via local streets. I90 HOV lanes flow well, particularly around Eastgate, so I could see many carpoolers prefer S Bellevue even if they drive right by the Eastgate garage.
S Bellevue will definitely be the preferred garage on evenings and weekends. Post-covid, midday weekday both garages will be full so neither will have much traffic. Bellevue College will be a far more important driver of midday bus ridership than the garage.
I just love how you give employees so much power to shape the workplace, Daniel. You are a true egalitarian!
However, I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of bosses who don’t share your enlightened viewpoint. I’m not sure how many secretaries or “account executives” [e.g flunkies] in the highrises of Seattle and Bellevue are going to be getting $500 dollar a month paid parking from Uncle Boss. Because without the buses and trains that’s what parking would cost in both places. At a minimum.
TT, I am not sure you understand the bus intercept on MI, or its history.
The intercept goes right on 80th after exiting I-90 westbound, left on NMW, to the round about at 77th, then back east on N. Mercer Way to the pick up stop at on the south side of NMW, then right on 80th and left onto the eastbound HOV lane.
“Who designed this idiocy? Don’t just fire him or her; ban the person or people from Washington State for life. [Yes, I know this can’t be done, but they deserve it.]”
Uh, ST and Metro designed it, even though it is contrary to the Nov. 2017 settlement agreement
There was a push to use 80th for the intercept, which would allow a bus to exit the I-90 HOV lane westbound, cross straight across 80th, drop off and pick up passengers at the same stop, back across 80th and onto I-90 eastbound. I think this might be what you are suggesting.
This was my first choice since it limited congestion on MI, and riders crossing busy streets to get to the light rail station. But ST/Metro said there was not enough space for more than one or two buses at a time at a stop on 80th, Metro wanted to use MI as a four bus layover area, and Metro — based on ST’s inflated ridership estimates used to sell ST 2 (pre-pandemic) — said it needed separate drop off and pick up areas to handle the number of buses.
There was a study to have buses exit I-90 westbound, cross 80th to drop off and pick up passengers, continue down 80th southbound as you suggest, and use a round about at 27th and 80th to then circle back to the I-90 entrance eastbound, but the same issues about a bus layover area and need to have separate drop off and pick up areas were raised by Metro, and the area for the bus round about was limited (ST condemned two single family homes on 77th and NMW for the bus turnaround on NMW).
Plus the park and ride exits onto 80th.
“This could be an enormously valuable, county-wide asset…”
Read my prior post TT. The ridership estimates used by ST to sell ST 2 were bogus, which is what Metro used to estimate the number of buses necessary for the intercept pre-pandemic. All of that is meaningless today. The actual number of buses accessing MI post-pandemic to serve East Link will be less than MI has already agreed to, so don’t get your panties in a moral wad. Or think MI gives a rat’s ass about a country wide asset. It is transit on the eastside. What asset?
The rest of your post makes no sense to me as someone who lives on MI.
But as I noted in a response to Ross, this will have little to do with MI. If Issaquah and Bellevue demand that express commuter buses continue after East Link opens– which they will — those express buses will continue. Issaquah ain’t Lake City, and the eastside subarea is flush with cash.
I guess one irony is if ST had been honest about cross-lake ridership on East Link from areas along I-90 — plus of course WFH, driving to work, more eastside commuters working on the eastside, and express buses continuing after East Link opens — using 80th as the sole bus stop as you and I prefer would have been feasible, and I agree a better choice.
“I just love how you give employees so much power to shape the workplace, Daniel. You are a true egalitarian!”
“However, I’ve noticed that there are a LOT of bosses who don’t share your enlightened viewpoint. I’m not sure how many secretaries or “account executives” [e.g flunkies] in the highrises of Seattle and Bellevue are going to be getting $500 dollar a month paid parking from Uncle Boss.”
TT, who do you think demanded that Microsoft require all employees to get vaccinated if they were going to return to the workplace? Yes, the same flunkies you dismiss.
I know you are retired, but I don’t think you understand how hard it is today to get good employees. In more enlightened work places, the old cigar chomping ass pinching boss with flunky secretaries is history, and “bosses” and “flunkies” work collaboratively.
A good paralegal is like gold (although often high maintenance) and makes a law firm a lot of money, and she/he knows there are a dozen law firms that would hire them in a second. The reality in most professions from medicine to law staff run the system, just for less than the doctor or lawyer. Every employer is chasing talent today, and we want happy and productive employees, both because it is the right thing to do, and it makes them more productive and less willing to leave for another employer who might pay more.
Parking is around $250/month in downtown Seattle right now, probably around the same on the Eastside. With staggered shifts a few spots can handle many employees, and replaces the need for a transit pass that is not tax deductible for the employer.
If staff tells their employer they don’t want to come into the office because they are afraid of getting Covid — even though vaccinated — and infecting their children, employers are going to take that seriously. With transit it is much easier if you have a 100% vaccinated workplace and want them to come into the office: subsidized parking. At least that is what we did.
I have an uncle who lives in the Washington D.C. suburbs and for decades, commuted into downtown every weekday for work. Back when he was first hired, it was a one seat bus ride all the way. At some point, the Red Line opened and the bus got restructured, so the commute became driving to the nearest Red Line station. (Feeder buses exist, but the frequency isn’t very good, and the route, somewhat roundabout).
On the one hand, he liked the old one seat bus better. On the other hand, he also realized that the reason the one seat bus ride was better is because there were far fewer people on the bus back then and far fewer cars on the road, so the bus breezed through, with minimal congestion. I’d the old 1960-era bus route were brought back, it would be much slower today, almost certainly slower than taking the red line. It would also cost a large amount of taxpayer money per passenger to run.
Long term, when offices return to full capacity, it will be the same here. Today, it may seem like you want a bus from Eastgate to SLU that slogs through downtown Seattle traffic. But, fast forward to 2030, a ride on Link, plus a half mile walk at the end will most certainly be faster, even with an added connection.
As to parking capacity at the station…a lot of it gets wasted because it’s free. In Mercer Island, in particular, there will almost certainly be people who live in condos right across the highway driving to the station who could easily walk, but the car saves 3-5 minutes and they’re lazy, and at 6:30 AM, the parking lot isn’t yet full, so they drive. So, that person saving 3 minutes means somebody else leaving later who lives too far to walk and has no feeder service can’t get a space at all. Paid parking avoids this inefficiency, and allows more spaces to go to those who really need it. Washington D.C. has paid parking at all metro stations, by the way. If it were free, it would be full, very early.
The reality is charging for park and ride stalls prices out those who most need it: those who take transit to commute because they can’t afford to drive and park. It also encourages driving to work, because the roundtrip transit fare plus parking begins to approach driving and parking, just for one person. In many areas of East King Co. there is no transit available from near someone’s doorstep.
ST’s plans to charge for park and ride space had nothing to do with better use of park and rides. It was about revenue. On MI the monthly charge was $120, whether you used it or not. What if a Seattle commuter had to pay $120/month for bus feeder service to light rail, plus the light rail fare. Do you think that would affect their ability to take transit, or willingness to.
Post pandemic transit is going to have to compete on better cost and less congestion, because it fails on safety, convenience, ability to carry things, and so on. Commuters are looking to get out of commuting completely by WFH, and transit is seen as a Covid hot spot, so transit has some real disadvantages over the next few years.
I would run the express buses from Issaquah just like Northgate, and if commuters prefer taking a bus to a light rail station then they will, and the express buses can end after the commuter has gotten used to it.
But I think it is critical for transit to understand the commuter has gotten use to not commuting, and does not want to go back no matter how great transit is (and how great can commuting on transit be), and is looking for any excuse to force their employers to allow them to WFH. Shitty (or unsafe) transit is just one more excuse, when the real goal is to not commute, something I think should be eliminated as much as possible anyway.
Then transit agencies and transit advocates can stop chasing the commuter and their farebox recovery.
Daniel, you are correct. I did not know that the buses go right, then left and North Mercer Way then go around a roundabout to stop next to the station. All I knew is what I see on Google Earth which shows a bunch of bus stops on the north side of M, since I admittedly have not put my feet on the ground inside the Moat for forty years.
That sounds fairly efficient, so I agree that it is not the catastrophe I concluded it would be.
I don’t see any sign of a roundabout at 77th, though. The Google Earth view looks pretty contemporary, because the station looks essentially complete in the picture.
Where’s the roundabout?
I90 HOV lanes flow well, particularly around Eastgate, so I could see many carpoolers prefer S Bellevue even if they drive right by the Eastgate garage.
Yes, definitely. If you are carpooling, you are probably going to keep going, even though you do have to leave the carpool lanes to exit at South Bellevue.
for “broader Eastside” I meant someone coming from like Renton or Snoqualmie (Sammamish residents will aim to use SE Redmond or Issaquah Highlands garages?).
Yeah. 405 is nasty during rush hour as well. So if you are in Renton, you will probably work your way over to whatever park and ride serves you, rather than try and slog your way to South Bellevue or Eastgate (assuming there is express service to Mercer Island). For those who drive, Eastgate and South Bellevue seem like a wash during rush hour, just because Eastgate would be going against the flow.
Likewise, slogging on I-90 for miles (from the east) just to avoid the transfer doesn’t seem worth it to me. Not if buses to the east have decent frequency. Time will tell, I suppose, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the gigantic South Bellevue Park and Ride lot is largely empty during rush hour, but slowly fills up with people avoiding downtown parking during the day. By then a lot of the feeder buses will be less frequent — making the choice a lot easier.
The reality is charging for park and ride stalls prices out those who most need it: those who take transit to commute because they can’t afford to drive and park.
Park and ride pricing would be set so that it would get the same number of riders. In other words, the same number of people would use the park and ride spots. For a lot of people, time is more valuable than a little bit of money. For example, if you have a kid at daycare, spending extra time commuting is way more expensive than a few bucks for parking. You would have to do a study to figure out who comes out ahead or not.
The money would go into improving the feeder buses. This means those who can’t afford to own a car (typically those at the bottom of the economic scale) would benefit the most.
The round about will be built where the traffic light is at the intersection of 77th and N. Mercer Way. The two houses to the north ofcNMW will be demolished for the round about.
The round about was agreed to in the 2017 settlement agreement. I have met twice with ST re: mitigation for the round about and the ST Rep was receptive and very polite.
So Ross, would you support congestion pricing for feeder buses like you do for park and ride stalls. Charge more depending on ridership and frequency?
Your free market approach to park and ride costs fails to understand this is TRANSIT. It is all massively subsidized because mostly poor people use it.
I guess if a mom had to pay $120/month for a park and ride stall so she could get her kids to daycare and still find a park and ride stall she could maybe skip birthday gifts or the pediatrician. But that is a very cruel approach, and you definitely are not a cruel person. Just the opposite. But your view is influenced by your views toward cars. But you can’t take small kids to daycare on the bus.
I pay a fortune towards transit, maybe more than anyone on this blog, and but never use it which means I subsidize everyone on this blog. But I want it to go towards those who need it, and I don’t want a lot of ideological crap with my money.
More than anything I don’t want that mom to have to scramble at 6 am to get her kids to pre-school so she can find a park and ride space to commute to work because transit has forced a 20% tax on parking, and now $120/month for the park and ride space, and Metro is worthless on the Eastside despite all the money we give that grossly inefficient agency.
This is EVERYTHING I hate about transit. The arrogance towards the working class. I hope WFH becomes mandatory, and I don’t really give a shit about what it does to farebox recovery.
Get rid of every park and ride on the Eastside, because we end commuting to work on transit. That is the greatest civil rights movement if the 21st century.
“you can’t take small kids to daycare on the bus.”
In well-organized cities daycare is within walking distance. That’s one of the many things you lose when you have a strict zoning separation between houses and everything else.
This is EVERYTHING I hate about transit. The arrogance towards the working class.
Ha, that’s rich (in more ways than one). You’ve repeatedly shown a complete ignorance of what the working class has to endure. You repeatedly mention transit only in the context of commuting, and quite often commuting downtown. The idea that people can’t afford a car, or aren’t lucky enough to work in a glass tower downtown must blow your sheltered little mind. Just like the idea of a family living in an apartment, with the kids sharing a bedroom. You thought only single young people lived in apartments — once they get old enough, everyone buys a house, right?
You also are ignoring the issue. You want to subsidize parking … for everyone. You don’t want a low income parking permit, similar to a low income ORCA card. You want it all to be “free”. What you want is for the government to pay money so that people who do have cars get a more convenient trip to their fancy offices, while those who need to take a bus to the clinic have to transfer twice and wait an hour. If you don’t think the two are related, you are as ignorant of transit funding as you are the life of the working class.
You are delusional if you think that the push for more park and ride lots is being driven by low income riders. It is being driven by folks like you. Folks who don’t want to take a bus to the train. They have a nice, reliable car, and they want to use it. But they also don’t like the traffic downtown. Sure, they can afford the parking, but wouldn’t it be nice if someone else paid for it? I mean, how else are people supposed to use this new train, right? Catch a bus — that is for poor folks, right?
Of course you can take small kids on the bus. It is free, too (for those under 5). If you’ve never seen a little kid on a bus, you haven’t ridden many buses.
Do you have small kids Mike? Have you ever had kids! Are you really suggesting that upzoning residential neighborhoods will allow a mom to take kids on transit to daycare, and then what? Catch another bus to a train to work? WTF? Is this how ridiculous upzoning has become.
What I want is to eliminate commuting to work on transit. Period. WFH is the best thing to happen to moms and kids. It has nothing to do with global warming or density.
I am telling you the work commuter is not coming back. Upzone whatever you want in Seattle, but you are mistaken that new construction will create affordable housing or make up for the loss of the commuter on transit. But who cares on the Eastside?
Some say that the loss of farebox revenue will be offset by elimination of peak transit. Great, although I don’t believe that, and suspect this loss of peak farebox and general fund revenue is at the heart of the “realignment”, but don’t care. Let the chips fall where they will.
The best thing for moms and “flunkies” will be WFH, because on the Eastside that will be the last time they ever take transit or waste their lives commuting to work. It will save a fortune in building road capacity for peak commuters.
Let’s design a transit system devoid of the captured work commuter. Ross is probably right too much focus is on the work commuter. But as the realignment begins to slowly admit, transit farebox recovery long term will be about 60% without commuter farebox revenue, and less factoring in general fund revenue, and levies.
This region was sold a massively expensive transit system (and Tisgwm’s numbers took my breath away) based on huge population and ridership growth, and neither will happen.
It is a brave new world. Design transit without the peak commuter.
No Ross, park and rides are not for me, or folks like me. I drive to work and park downtown. In fact, even if I wanted to take Metro to our bus stop or future light rail station I couldn’t because we have no intra-Island transit despite paying a fortune towards Metro.
Park and rides are for our Eastside staff who Pre-pandemic took transit to work (until the 550 was moved out of DSST1).
I agree with you. I want to eliminate commuting to work, whether on transit or driving. I want park and rides on the Eastside to become obsolete, and think they will. On that we agree. I don’t think that goal is elitist although I live an elitist life, and understand that.
Daniel, I know plenty of people who want to go back to the office. This WFH for everyone reality you have in your head is not going to happen and peak commuting is going to become a reality again. It’s going to start this fall with both office workers and students returning to their offices and universities/colleges. And the transit systems are going to need to accommodate that. Along with that there’s still plenty of people who commute in peak already for work at like Hospitals for their shift. Will WFH be an option for some, yes. But expect it to be if it happens is only be a day or two at home to work not this going full WFH like you think it’ll be.
As someone who has WFH for the last year and a half as a college student I’m so done with online courses and WFH and ready to be back in an actual classroom because in my opinion WFH is awful as a long term thing and does not make for better productivity
Daniel, thank you for the explanation about the roundabout.
Do you have small kids Mike? Have you ever had kids!
I had kids. We couldn’t afford a car. We walked them most places, and took them on the bus to other places. Your inability to imagine how real people live is staggering. From assuming that everyone can afford a nice house to assuming that everyone can afford a reliable car shows not only ignorance, but a complete lack of imagination.
What I want is to eliminate commuting to work on transit. Period. WFH is the best thing to happen to moms and kids. It has nothing to do with global warming or density.
More lack of understanding. You just assume everyone is a well paid professional, who used to work in a fancy office, but now works from home. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not the real world. Low income people work in retail or medical. They clean toilets, dishes and bedpans. They wait tables, tend bar, and handle money. They operate fork lifts, park cars and launder clothes. They give people massages, trim their hair, and work on their nails. Many of them … wait for it … work in day cares. None of these jobs can be done at home. Seriously, look at this list of the 25 lowest paying jobs: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-worst-paid-jobs-2061699. Not a single one can be done at come. Jeesh — it is incredible that you didn’t know that.
At the same token, it is also amazing that you didn’t know that working from home is no panacea when it comes to day care. It is very difficult for a parent to take care of kids and do their job, even if it can be done at home. Kids deserve attention — they aren’t house plants. Many have special needs. You are describing a world that exists only for a small subset of America — my guess is it is the subset you are most familiar with.
You really sound clueless when it comes to low income America. I realize it is hard to rub elbows with the commonfolk from Mercer Island. Holy cow, you are so privileged you don’t even take transit to downtown. You are part of that small group that drives, which means you don’t even interact on the bus. Your comments about people you interact with outside of your little island (in downtown Seattle) are full of disdain. You prefer being as isolated as possible from the real world, wondering why everyone doesn’t just live like you. Fair enough. But Good God, man, read a book. You could start with the classics — Dickens, Orwell, Steinbeck. Then work your way up to something more contemporary.
“[Transit is] massively subsidized because mostly poor people use it.”
It’s subsidized because the private streetcar companies went bankrupt in the 1930s. This was partly because regulations prevented them from raising the 5c fare so it fell below inflation. That and the Depression led to deferred maintenance and they were falling apart (like the DSTT’s escalators). Nowadays it’s assumed a local transit network can’t operate at a profit because people won’t/can’t pay $15 fares. So governments everywhere subsidize it because of the public benefits it provides. Last-resort transportation for the poor is only one of its benefits. Transit gives a common baseline of mobility, uses less energy than cars, emits less carbon emissions, pollutes less, uses less space, and doesn’t require ten-lane highways and cloverleaf interchanges and four-lane arterials. If transit didn’t exist, we’d need exponentially more lanes and parking spaces or many people would have to stay at home, and there would be Third World levels of congestion.
Urban/suburban areas should be self-contained neighborhood clusters with a mixture of housing, services, retail, and transit — enough so that people could do 80% of their errands without leaving the neighborhood and some could both live and work there. That’s the vision behind Seattle’s urban villages but it can also exist at a lower-density scale; e.g., streetcar suburbs. Imagine Mercer Island like several Greenwoods, plus the existing downtown and a few scattered mansions, and maybe some green space or mansions between the neighborhoods — but overall mostly neighborhoods. This is how many northeastern cities and non-US cities are designed, and how every city was designed before the 1940s. When you say most people want to drive everywhere and cities/suburbs should be designed for that, you’re talking about a particular postwar American vision. One that only a subset of Americans can have or want, and is intertwined with exclusionism and denialism.
Why don’t you use the Mercer Island P&R? Is it too full?
In terms of returning to the office, I think things have the potential to worsen. The Delta, Delta Plus, and new Lambda Variants – are already delaying a return to the office. A few local offices have announced this past week – they are pushing back a return to the office to Feb 2022. Unfortunately, I think the variants will continue to diminish peak ridership.
Oh, and governments subsidize roads, traffic police, airports, “essential air service” to rural areas, oil, and they don’t charge drivers the full cost of their externalities (pollution, land space). Governments subsidize all forms of transportation, both car and non-car. Because transportation is essential, both for individual citizens and for the economy (people working and shopping) and public health (people going to the doctor and recreation and socializing). But governments can choose which modes to prioritize for subsidizes. Some countries follow a good transit-oriented and pedestrian-oriented paradigm. Others follow a car-first paradigm that is problematic in many ways. In Pugetopolis, even though a few rail lines and HOT lanes and RapidRide have gotten the headlines, some 80% of local/state/federal transportation subsidies goes to cars, fossil fuels, airports, and ignoring their externalities.
Uh Ross, aren’t you the person who wants to charge these poor commuters who can’t work from home an extra $120/month to use a park and ride? You do understand poor parents own cars too, right?
And aren’t you the person who wants to eliminate the express peak buses that might make their commute a little faster and more convenient?
Despite your long polemic on class warfare, the basic question you never answer is: how does allowing someone who can work from home and wants to work from home to work from home affect the commuter who cannot work from home? Why are you and some others on this blog so afraid of allowing workers to work from home? The lost ridership and farebox recovery? I just don’t get it.
How does forcing someone who could work from home to spend two hours each day away from their family commuting to work make the life of those who cannot work from home better?
Yes, I know quite a bit about daycare, probably much more than you do (non-theoretical). When our kids were born both my wife and I worked. It was agony for my wife to leave her babies at daycare to go to work but we needed the income back then, and today she could have done that job from home most of the time.
When very young we took our kids to a daycare a nice lady ran out of her home, which is common at that age. We drove to her house, she didn’t drive to our house, and I am sure she took the home deduction which helped her afford her house. There was no transit to her residential home.
When the kids got older we took them to the pre-school at the Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. Like most large pre-schools, the JCC had ample parking for teachers and staff, and they all drove there. There is no transit today to the JCC, let alone back then. Very common on the eastside. It wasn’t cheap either: $1000/child/month, twelve months/year, non-deductible.
The common mistake you make among transit advocates when you bring class warfare into transit is the class you seek to vilify or injure does not use transit. Although like many things in society, this class pays for much of transit, but does not use it.
No matter how shitty or abusive transit is it does not affect them (unless it affects our employees). I don’t use park and rides, or take transit, but our staff do, or did before the pandemic, and yes they prefer to drive if parking is subsidized, which is what we have to do now (and really the cost of a parking stall that is tax deductible compared to a monthly transit pass that is not deductible is not much different).
This is not about me. Or you, because you are not poor and don’t commute to work. All you are doing is pitting one segment of the working class against another segment of the working class. If you want to help poor workers who can’t work from home then make transit better (and don’t charge them an extra $120/month for a park and ride so they can drop their kids off at daycare and still take transit to work), or allow them somehow to drive if they want.
There is no point to force someone to spend two hours/day commuting to work who can work from home, and wants to so she or he can spend more time with their family, to somehow benefit someone who can’t work from home but must still take transit.
So post something that explains how making someone who can work from home, and wants to, spend two hours/day commuting to work somehow benefits the worker who can’t work from home, because I don’t see the connection, or how class warfare comes into it.
Mike, I don’t use the park and ride on Mercer Island because I drive to work (with some WFH now). Pre-pandemic the lot was full by 7 am, which put a real strain on working moms who could not drop their kids off at school or pre-school until after the lot was full (we have effectively no intra-Island transit on Mercer Island, a fact some seem to not understand on this blog). Right now the lot is never full because the work commuter has not returned to transit.
“Urban/suburban areas should be self-contained neighborhood clusters with a mixture of housing, services, retail, and transit — enough so that people could do 80% of their errands without leaving the neighborhood and some could both live and work there.”
Mike, you just described Issaquah. WFH will make your vision more available to more workers, because it is commuting to work that forces them to leave their neighborhood of Issaquah.
Yes of course governments subsidize many things, although ideally governments should subsidize fewer things for the wealthy. But when it comes to roads the poor rely on roads more than the wealthy (just like police).
You like transit so you think transit should get more subsidies (despite Tisgwm’s recent post noting the cost of ST through 2046 is now a staggering $117 billion). Where governments should spend their money — as well as raise it — is the essence of politics.
https://komonews.com/news/local/port-project-could-mean-less-access-for-west-seattle-low-bridge Here is a good article on the competing interests for roads and bridges.
I would say transit is not doing badly in the subsidy part (80% for Metro and 60% for rail, and I think 35% for ferries). It is just too bad our transit — both to build and operate — is so much less efficient than in other parts of the world. The U.S. spends a proportionate amount on transit, we just get much less service for our dollar. Plus our country is so large and 98% of it is non-urban.
Hey Daniel, I never wrote that I opposed working from home. I merely pointed out that if you believe that working from home is some great Godsend to the poor, you are as clueless about the work the working poor actually do as you are the rest of their lives. I actually do know what it is like to raise kids with very little money (having experience it myself) yet there is not one sentence in your long, rambling comments that suggest you do.
You suggested that charging for park and rides would somehow be a great burden on the poor, with no evidence. You are forgetting that it is a zero sum game. If we subsidize park and ride lots, the money has to come from somewhere. Giving wealthy people free parking is just another way of cutting service that poor people are more likely to use. If you are really worried that a working class family would pay too much to park, then support a low income discount, similar to the discount for transit fares. You refuse to support that idea, because this has nothing to do with the poor, and everything to do with supporting your warped view of reality.
Put it this way. Assume you only have a limited amount of money (which is true for every municipality in the state). What do you spend money on:
1) Free parking, so that people can more easily commute downtown.
2) Better transit service.
3) Social services.
You seem to be arguing for the first one. Put it another way — what government services would you cut to pay for the free parking?
“you just described Issaquah.”
I meant on foot. Sorry for neglecting to mention it explicitly. Many people in the U-District can meet practically all their needs on foot, except maybe a work commute, and leave the neighborhood once a month or so.
The Issaquah Highlands is a minimal facsimile of this, although if I recall about the only thing you can walk to is a supermarket plaza and Target and the P&R. Still, that’s better than pre-1990 neighborhoods. Central Issaquah where the 554 runs nonstop between the Issaquah P&R, downtown, and the road to the Highlands, is almost all close-together houses and apartments and back-office institutions from what I remember. It seemed like a long walk to daily retail/service needs, so long that people are practically forced to drive. That’s where I’d have more retail/services mixed in with the housing.
“we have effectively no intra-Island transit on Mercer Island, a fact some seem to not understand on this blog”
I know that, although maybe some others don’t. I’ve lived in places that were a 20-40 minute walk to one bus once every hour or two. And it’s why I haven’t seen most of Mercer Island. Mercer Island is somewhat an exception to general neighborhood visions, because it’s a small island with only two access points. It’s not necessarily wise to make it like Kirkland for instance. I would focus on more housing/jobs around the Link station and leave the rest of the island as is. But it should have more all-day coverage transit throughout the island, as other countries do in similar areas.
the cost of ST through 2046 is now a staggering $117 billion”
That’s in year-of-expenditure (future inflated) dollars. And the proper comparison is not zero but a Northern European level of transit investment. Germany and The Netherlands kept their regional and intercity railroads running all day, and since the 1970s have been adding light rail, BRT, and ped/bike improvements to all cities large and small, constructing essentially nonstop. The UK has also done this, although with a shocking contraction of regional/national rail in the 1960s, yet with an impressive comeback since the 1990s. Scandinavia makes all parts of the country transit-accessible, as do Switzerland, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, etc. Canada has been catching up. And Washington DC has its impressive 1976 metro, 2000s suburban urban villages, and even retrofitting car-dependent Tyson’s Corner. This is what we should have done, and we should catch up now as much as we can. It’s be more expensive because everything is more expensive now, and the US has unique factors that drive up transit-construction costs, as detailed in those articles. We should reprioritize things to drive down those costs. “We” can only do so much because it depends on federal/state/county decisions, and the politicians aren’t inclined to, but we should nudge them and replace them as much as we can.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Link’s alignment is the best, or that its cost curve is great, or that Seattle Subway’s or AGH’s visions are ideal. The truth is in between all of those. But you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had, and Link/ST/Metro and the politicians’ current attitudes are what we have. So you make lemonade out of lemons.
Translation of KOMO West Seattle low bridge article: we’ve never heard of transit, and didn’t know the 2020 TBD is funding extra service in West Seattle to mitigate the high bridge closure, or that allowing GP cars on the low bridge would make buses sit in traffic. Buses, schmuses! This focusing on SOVs as if nothing else exists is like real-estate articles that say the housing market incresed 25% when what they really mean is single-family houses increased 25% and apartments and condos increased maybe less or decreased. Or like saying everybody works downtown and needs a P&R space, because nobody can take a feeder bus or hike to the P&R. Some people can’t, but others can.
The fact that many P&Rs fill up at 7:30am and aren’t available for midday trips means that we need more feeders and more trunk frequency. We can’t build P&R spaces for everyone or the P&Rs would be four times bigger. That would cost millions of dollars and make P&Rs as big as a Walmart lot. Talk about not being able to walk to anything from the transit stop.
” If you are really worried that a working class family would pay too much to park, then support a low income discount, similar to the discount for transit fares. You refuse to support that idea, because this has nothing to do with the poor, and everything to do with supporting your warped view of reality.”
Where can I find this proposal Ross? I have never heard of it. Are you talking about a low income discount for a park and ride? I don’t remember that being part of ST’s proposals pre-pandemic to charge for park and rides. Can you link to this proposal?
Why would I be opposed to that proposal, if it is a proposal? I would also support a low income discount for parking anywhere in the city so more poor workers could drive to work, and waiving the state/city 20% tax on parking. What is warped about that view of reality?
At least you now understand poor transit riders also need to use a park and ride, and that charging them to use a park and ride hurts them. So that is a start.
You list three proposals or alternatives you think are mutually exclusive:
“1) Free parking, so that people can more easily commute downtown.
2) Better transit service.
3) Social services.”
But you miss three critical points:
1. Many areas don’t have feeder transit. Their only first mile access to transit is by car, because transit — especially on the eastside — is so poor, and the geography and topography make it very difficult to serve with buses. You see everything through a very dense Seattle, urban lens. There are five separate subareas, but you only understand one.
2. The number one factor affecting lack of social spending is the enormous sums were are spending on transit, $117 billion through 2026 according to Tisgwm. The idea that light rail or East Link was designed for the working poor is ridiculous, along with the idea spending $117 billion on light rail will benefit the poor. It was designed for the work commuter.
3. You just admitted poor transit riders also need to use park and rides, so why do you assume poor people only use bus transit, or eliminating a park and ride they use will benefit them.
“Giving wealthy people free parking is just another way of cutting service that poor people are more likely to use.”
I still don’t think you get the three points I try to make over and over because you are so focused on “wealthy vs. poor” when I don’t think you really understand or define either:
1. THE “WEALTHY” DON’T USE TRANSIT. THEY DON’T USE PARK AND RIDES. THEY DON’T RIDE BUSES OR LIGHT RAIL. THEY DRIVE. How many times do I have to tell you that.
2. Much if not most of the eastside has to drive for their first/last mile access to transit. That is why cities on the eastside insisted on park and rides in ST 2 and 3, not because of some kind of ideology or warped sense of reality. I don’t care because I don’t use park and rides, but I assume the city councils understand what their citizens want. Visit east King Co. (or Snohomish or Pierce or S. King Co.) sometime and you will understand.
3. With subarea equity, eliminating park and rides on the eastside — which the transit users prefer by far for first/last mile access, hence a 1500 stall park and ride at S. Bellevue and oversubscription for every other park and ride pre-pandemic — does not benefit someone taking transit in Seattle, where you think all poor people live.
It actually hurts the poor bus rider in Seattle because Metro then has to increase coverage on the eastside, which is very expensive per rider. Maybe you noted the Kenmore Mayor’s proposed amendment for the ST 3 realignment: if you delay park and rides then increase feeder bus service. Well, whom do you think pays for that increased feeder bus service, and who loses bus service to substitute feeder buses for park and rides? Got it: you take King Co. funding for Metro and transfer it to East King Co. for feeder bus service because you delayed park and rides paid wholly by the east King Co. subarea. Not a great idea if a poor Seattle transit rider is your concern.
You tend to see yourself as an avatar of the poor, despite not being poor, but your proposals don’t benefit the poor. You need to understand who has to use transit (and not some mythical “poor” urban pastiche), who does not use transit (the wealthy), what really benefits the rider (mainly first/last mile access and frequency, which is expensive), and how subarea equity really works.
Howling class warfare at a class that never uses transit and really does not give a damn about transit is a waste of time, and helps no one. The workers who can work from home and want to are not some mythical rich, white suburbanite in Medina.
You really have to get past the stereotypes. Transit will never be about me.
Again, myopia and ignorance informs your classist takes, DT.
2016 Rider Survey (unfortunately hasn’t been redone since): see page 129
Key Respondent Demographics by Sub-Area:
HH Income ; Seattle/North King ; East King
<$35k/yr ; 26% ; 15%
$34-100k/yr ; 33% ; 27% ;
+$100k/yr ; 31% ; 46%
No Resp. ; 10% ; 12%
Check your facts- you do not represent all wealth, but you do represent pearl-clutching suburbia.
Nathan, area median income for all of King Co. is $95,009. https://kingcounty.gov/independent/forecasting/King%20County%20Economic%20Indicators/Household%20Income.aspx#:~:text=Median%20Household%20Income%20in%20King%20County%20is%20the,median%20household%20income%20in%20King%20County%20was%20%2495%2C009.
For Bellevue it is $127,402. http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Bellevue-Washington.html
59% of those polled (801 responses out of 115,411 attempts) list income at below $35,000 or between $35,000 and $100,000, a huge gap that suggests around 59% of all riders surveyed are very low income, 30% AMI or less, which is the lowest level of subsidized affordable housing. Are they wealthy?
The others (based on their responses) list income at $100,000 or more, when AMI is $95,009, and $127,402 for Bellevue, which suggests nearly all riders have an income lower than their local AMI.
So I guess we have a different definition of “wealthy”, which I would argue is more than area median income. What is your income?
There are some other interesting parts of the survey:
5% of respondents were Black, and 69% white. Does this strike you as accurate for Metro ridership? I thought Metro and King Co. were using equity to reallocate transit to South Seattle because many Blacks rely on transit. Maybe Blacks don’t respond to these kinds of surveys (who does?).
East King Co. made up 17% of respondents, S. King Co. made up 19%, and N. King Co. made up 64%. As I have argued before, East Link (and really most of Link) was never about low income commuters, but I was surprised such a large number of bus riders who responded have such low AMI’s.
76% of respondents owned a car and 93% had access to a vehicle for personal use. So either the myth of those who take transit because they can’t or have to because they don’t own a car is wrong, or the survey is skewed. If I had to guess, the 59% of riders with 30% AMI are riding transit because they have to, and most of the rest are taking transit due to the cost of parking when commuting.
I understand clutching at pearls is a clever saying on The Urbanist (personally I like pearls, and ironically pearls are one of the least expensive precious gems) but what does that have to do with me? I am not considered wealthy on the eastside (my SFH being by far my greatest asset that fortunately is increasing 39%/year, thank you Seattle).
I don’t really understand what you or others expect me to say, or to do about transit. I subsidize it and don’t complain too much except for the exorbitant cost of light rail and its coverage (the spine), I don’t ride it which is my choice, and I don’t begrudge you for riding it, although the number of riders in the survey who either own a car or have access to one makes me think cars are still by far the first choice for transportation, depending on parking and cost, even for the very poor.
“…$117 billion through 2026 according to Tisgwm.”
Since I’ve been misquoted in this thread a couple of times now, here’s the link to my actual recent comments regarding the agency’s draft 30-year (2017-2046) financial plan:
Regarding the above discussion about parents using public transit with their kids in tow, DJT’s viewpoint on this seems framed by his overall myopic worldview that seems incapable of envisioning working class families not owning or even desiring to own a vehicle of any sort. I grew up in NYC during the 60s and my family never owned a car my entire time living there. So, yes, my parents toted us along with them on the bus/train as needed. Anytime walking wasn’t an option because our destination was too far away or we had to carry stuff, we typically walked to one of the neighborhood stops and took transit. Occasionally, we took a cab, usually when there were more of us kids tagging along and so it made sense financially. Even as a young kid I can remember many times helping my mom or dad tote groceries or laundry on the bus back to our house. One or two of us would usually go with them. My mom also worked during the day so before my brothers and I started going to school she would drop us off at my grandparents’ place before work. Every single day. On the bus. None of this was unusual either as many other working class families all over our borough used transit in a similar fashion.
Just to be clear, I recognize that there are huge differences between NYC and Mercer Island (as well as most of suburban King County) and that family lifestyles have changed since I was a kid (e.g, day care….what’s that?). Still, I think it’s important to acknowledge the overgeneralizing assertions frequently made in DJT’s commentary.
“As a result the total uses amount has increased to $131.3B (YOE$), and the capital program has grown to $69.2B.”
My apologies Tisgwm, but I thought there was a previous post in which your figure for ST was $117 billion. Hard to keep up.
Don’t know who DJT is but assume it is me. You write:
“DJT’s viewpoint on this seems framed by his overall myopic worldview that seems incapable of envisioning working class families not owning or even desiring to own a vehicle of any sort.”
I did recently post some statistics from the 2016 Metro survey Nathan linked to. https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/depts/metro/accountability/reports/2016/2016-rider-survey-final.pdf
76% of the 801 respondents owned a car, and 93% had access to a vehicle for personal use. [As I noted in my post probably 59% of the respondents were in the 30% AMI class, plus or minus] I am not saying parents don’t use public transit to take their kids to daycare, but my guess is it is rare, and according to the statistics a very high percentage of Metro users in N., S., and East King Co. either own a car or have access to one.
If someone does not want to own a car that is their choice, and no one is stopping them. As someone who has raised, and is still raising kids, I think it would be hard to raise kids without a car (or three), especially on the eastside where so many families live.
I would be very interested to know how many eastside residents with a drivers license don’t own a car. I know 81% of Seattle households own a car. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/seattles-rate-of-car-ownership-saw-the-biggest-drop-among-big-u-s-cities-by-far/
91.3% of U.S. households have access to at least one car.
The average car ownership in Snohomish Co. is two cars per household. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/snohomish-county-wa/
“Hard to keep up.”
Agreed. Like you, I have little confidence in Sound Transit’s financial estimating and forecasting.
“Don’t know who DJT is but assume it is me.”
Yes, my comment above was in response to one of your replies in this long thread. I guess I should’ve used your full user name. My apologies for the confusion. (Did you at one time use the middle initial “J” when commenting?) I do read your comments in full as I do for everyone replying on this blog, except for Mark since I just can’t decipher his meaning most of the time. Fwiw, from one former attorney to a currently active attorney, I happen to agree with your recent take and commentary on the MI v. Sound Transit litigation.
As a follow up on Snohomish Co. (which probably has a different demographic and geography from NY City in the 1960’s), the mode of transportation for commuting in 2019 was:
MOST COMMON COMMUTE IN 2019
Drove Alone (74.3%)
Worked At Home (6.03%)
In 2019, 74.3% of workers in Snohomish County, WA drove alone to work, followed by those who carpooled to work (10.7%) and those who worked at home (6.03%).
Public transit was 5.65%.
The following chart displays the households in Snohomish County, WA distributed between a series of car ownership buckets compared to the national averages for each bucket. The largest share of households in Snohomish County, WA have 2 cars, followed by 3 cars.”
Around 1.5% of households in Snohomish Co. do not have a car, whereas around 8% have five or more cars. Talk about myopia.
https://datausa.io/profile/geo/snohomish-county-wa/#housing (same link)
I wonder what happened to Mark Dublin and hope he is ok. He reappeared for a few posts not long ago, but they were less comprehensible than before. His posts, although sometimes hard to follow, had a certain authenticity.
My middle initial is P, for Parnell.
There is one aspect about free ST parking that is overlooked in this discussion: Free parking for non-District residents. Everett, Auburn and Sumner would appear to have a significant percentage of parking riders who do not live in the district and pay car tabs. I don’t think it’s fair for a Seattle resident to be charged car tabs and not get nearby free parking while a Maple Valley resident will pay nothing in these big new Sounder garages.
Hell, I know people from Portland that use the Tacoma garage.
Maybe use the Good2Go transponders to charge for parking?
Daniel, I do believe that you have the interests — as you perceive them — of your employees at heart.
The thing you forget is that cars — even full plug EV’s — don’t scale in the constrained Puget Sound topography and are an environmental and social catastrophe. Cars give people the illusion that they are in control of their destiny to a greater degree than they actually are. They separate people from one another and pit them in a zero-sum competition known as “traffic” or more bluntly “the rat race”. They encourage sprawl into ever more wilderness, depriving other organisms of their homes.
Cars are fundamentally sociopathic.
You may be willing to allow your paralegals to work from home, but eventually some firm who doesn’t will beat you in an important suit that you should have won, because one of those paralegal’s internet connection is bumped off by Xfinity.
Thanks for providing that data. It would be interesting to see it broken down further by local jurisdiction. I’m not sure if there’s a source for getting to that level of data though that’s current.
To be fair, this was the assertion you originally made and to which my first reply was intended to address:
“But you can’t take small kids to daycare on the bus.”
As I and a couple of other commenters have indicated, one certainly can, and people routinely do, get kids to day care via the bus.
Moving on to one of your other assertions about what you pay (in taxes) for transit in our region:
“I pay a fortune towards transit, maybe more than anyone on this blog, and but never use it which means I subsidize everyone on this blog.”
You are not unique in this respect; there are many people out there who pay a lot in taxes to fund their regional and local transit agencies. For my household, we pay a combined 2.6% in sales taxes for ST and CT, as well as the property tax ST now collects as a result of ST3. Additionally, we pay a dedicated county road tax that funds county roads that frequently serve as thoroughfares for transit corridors. So, yeah, I get it. There’s a lot of money coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets to fund transit needs, many of whom never use any of the local agency’s services. With that said, I view funding public transit just like I view funding public education in that I see it as part of the social compact we have with the communities in which we live. My household pays a lot of money every year to fund the Edmonds School District, for example, and yet we don’t directly utilize any of their services as we don’t have any kids attending any of the schools within the district, nor has this ever been the case since moving to Edmonds. But this is all fine with me as it’s all part of this social compact to which I speak. I just want the funds that are collected, whether it be for public transit or for public schools or for county roads, to be spent wisely and that’s why I try to stay engaged in what these agencies, my local school district and my county government are doing.
Those Edmonds children are the next generation of civic and business leaders and neighbors. That will affect you in twenty years if you’re still in Edmonds. And education may give them tools to recognize and avoid falling for manipulation and conspiracy theories.
I would be interested to know how many parents take kids to pre-school on a public bus in this area, or Snohomish Co. It sounds logistically almost impossible considering the kids are so young.
Times have changed. When I was young growing up on lower Capitol Hill in the 1960’s I walked as a kindergartner to Stevens Public School, and beginning in first grade about 8 blocks to St. Joseph elementary school.
Starting around age 10 my little brother who was 8 and I would walk to the bus stop next to the ravine across from Stevens and catch the bus downtown to see a movie, or up to Volunteer Park. No parent would allow that today, even on Mercer Island. Transit really isn’t about families anymore, I don’t think, and so many families have left the urban areas like downtown Seattle where maybe you could take a kid to pre-school on a bus, but wouldn’t want to. Now they all live on the eastside, or maybe some Seattle neighborhoods, and everyone takes a dedicated school bus.
I have no kids, so I can only say what others do. Taking the bus with small children certainly appears to have its challenges but people do it. There’s several grade schools along the route I take most often. Pre-pandemic it wasn’t unusual to see 3-5 parents with kids or quite young grade schoolers riding alone during certain trips. I’ve definitely seen similar when visiting Seattle.
“When I was young growing up on lower Capitol Hill in the 1960’s I walked as a kindergartner to Stevens Public School, and beginning in first grade about 8 blocks to St. Joseph elementary school. Starting around age 10 my little brother who was 8 and I would walk to the bus stop next to the ravine across from Stevens and catch the bus downtown to see a movie, or up to Volunteer Park.”
So you have experienced urbanism to some extent. And maybe you walked to the supermarket and library and friend’s houses sometimes. And my friend in north Lynnwood grew up all around Capitol Hill around the same time and later raised a daughter there. She said in the 1970s the apartments in Summit were full of families with children, and she walked to Queen Anne High School because there was no bus on Denny then.
I grew up in a low density part of Bellevue, and went around alone a lot. The only thing around us was houses; the nearest 7-11 was half a mile away up a hill, and the nearest supermarket a mile away. I read books about children in the 1950s and 1920s who could walk to retailers and services and all their friends and had a convenient streetcar or bus or subway or commuter train to the rest of the city, and my mom told me stories about growing up in San Francisco. I always found that an ideal, although I thought it was irrevocably lost in the past or far away. I went to a junior high across town at Bellevue High School, and then I started taking Metro. Five minutes from me there was an hourly bus to downtown Bellevue and downtown Seattle. I started taking the bus to school, then to the Record Library on Broadway, the library in downtown Seattle, and the record stores and bookshops and Ave hangout in the U-District.
One summer I happened to meet on the bus a friend who had moved from Bellevue to the top of Queen Anne, so I followed him to the end of the 2 and found another world. Silent trolleybuses running every 20 minutes instead of hourly. The ability to walk to the store and friends’ houses and Seattle Center, or even an hour-long walk to the U District. We spent Friday or Saturday evenings at Seattle Center with other Queen Anne kids.
When high school came I decided to go to Bellevue High School. My parents divorced and each of them ended up living in several apartments along Bellevue Way between SE 6th and NE 29th. The highrises and Lincoln Square didn’t exist then; everything was one or two stories. Still, it was a much better experience than I’d had in a low-density area. I could walk to school and Bellevue Square and the library and movie theater and my restaurant job, and the buses to downtown Seattle were half-hourly instead of hourly. I had schoolmates who walked home to Medina, and others who took Metro home to downtown Kirkland, and several met in a room above 7-11 to play D&D.
At one point my dad moved to a house in Somerset, so I was plunged back into a low-density area, with an hourly bus to the U-District and an every-two-hour bus to Seattle. To get to school I’d take the every-two-hour 210 to Mercer Island, wait 10 minutes, and transfer back on the 226 to Bellevue. Going home wasn’t as good because the transfers were worse, so I usually took the 240 or 340 south to Factoria or Newport Hills and walked two miles home or maybe stopped at the Newport library waiting for the 210. There was nothing on Somerset. just houses. On Saturday mornings I sometimes walked to McDonald’s in Eastgate, and that took an hour.
When it came time for college, I didn’t see any reason to go out of state and I wanted to be in a city, so I went to UW and lived in the dorms, and I’ve lived in Seattle ever since. Downtown Bellevue is better than low-density east Bellevue, but the U-District is better than both.
I didn’t start traveling to other cities or countries until my last years of high school. I was in a club that that had joint conferences with one in Spokane. Spokane in the early 80s was one of my favorite places on earth: a walkable smallish town with quirky local businesses (the chains hadn’t invaded yet). So even though it was small and had skeletal transit (hourly buses until 7pm, and no schedule at the bus stops, just a phone number), I found it had good urban traits. Then my dad and I drove down to a family reunion in Nevada, and stayed with his friends in San Jose, and one day he had a business meeting so they dropped me off at the Fremont BART station, figuring I’d like to take it to San Francisco. That was my first subway, and I was particularly happy about its 15 minute frequency and 85 mph speed. Then in college I went to a conference in Illinois and my friends went to Chicago and told me about it. Then in the 90s I went to Moscow and St Petersburg, and later Germany and the UK and neighboring countries. Then in the 2000s I started traveling around the US, to Chicago, New York, DC, Vancouver BC, Toronto, and other cities in California and the East Coast.
That all is where my attitudes about transit and walkability came from. In the US a small fraction of mostly affluent people and some very poor can live in places where half the people don’t have cars and transit is always frequent around the clock and they can walk to a lot of things. But it’s possible to make that available to everyone, and many cities and countries do a much better job of it.
“No parent would allow [children to walk alone] today,”
That’s a problem with current parents, not transit. They see kidnappings on TV and think it happens all the time. But TVs and newspapers show only the one person who was kidnapped or shot, not the 599,999 who weren’t.
in the mid 2010s I rode the 74 local and 62 a lot, and every couple weeks a group of thirty elementary-school kids and their minders would take the bus on a field trip; e.g., from Ravenna to Magnuson Park of from Wallingford to Greenlake and such.
Spot on, Mike. Television, like cars, is sociopathic. It drives people into their little cocoons and away from interacting with all the unfathomably normal people around them.
Let’s see Mike:
From 1977 to 1981 I attended the UW. I lived on Greek Row, then a house with four other guys on 50th and Meridian, then a basement apartment on 52nd and 11th across the street from Dante’s.
Then two years in Dublin Ireland, followed by two years in Chelsea London, and six months sleeping on the kitchen floor of a friend’s place in NY city (I hated the sound of cockroaches when the lights were turned out).
Then back to Seattle for law school. I lived in a houseboat on Lake Union, then a townhouse on lower Queen Anne near the old Tower Records, and then the bottom half of the house on Ravenna just off Roosevelt near the park (before the park was a homeless camp). Finally I lived with my future wife in her apartment below the Market. We moved to Mercer Island because my wife hated Seattle. The funny thing is I have never lived alone.
When my family moved to Mercer Island in 1970 to get away from Seattle schools and crime MI was very rural. But we had school, sports, bikes, and the woods, and I don’t remember being lonely.
I have walked a lot in my life. In Ireland I had to ride my bike for miles to get to the laundry. We would ride our bikes home in the jet black night in Dublin’s icy rain drunk out of our mind. We once took the bus to buy a TV in Dublin it took two to carry. There really wasn’t anything special about walking, and transit in Ireland sucked (why I had a bike). I have never found anything moral about walking (although when I was young I did a lot of hiking and climbing in the mountains). Most of the transit I have taken in my life has been pretty bad.
I just don’t think any form of transportation is moral, or more moral than another, and find it ironic bicyclists think they are more moral than those who take polluting buses. I don’t think transit will change life or zoning, because life changes to fast. The pandemic and WFH will likely change life and transit, but life always changes.
Urbanism is dying in Seattle IMO in the one place it should thrive: downtown. Without safe streets there is no retail and restaurant density, the commuter won’t come back, and so you are back to walking empty streets like you did as a kid. I work in a tall building in Pioneer Square with a beautiful view of Puget Sound, but I have nowhere to walk.
That does not sound like the kind of urbanism I want. People take transit because they want to go someplace fun to walk, or work, not just to ride a bus or train to nothing.
I don’t know TT. To date there have been 1587 shootings in Chicago alone in 2021, 195 more than in all of 2020. I don’t think reports of crime are all fiction.
I don’t have time to argue every one of your ridiculous points — you are a prolific generator of them, I give you that — so let me just address this one:
The others (based on their responses) list income at $100,000 or more, when AMI is $95,009, and $127,402 for Bellevue, which suggests nearly all riders have an income lower than their local AMI.
So I guess we have a different definition of “wealthy”, which I would argue is more than area median income.
I find it interesting how often your comments resemble those of Marie Antoinette. Not her actual statements — which historians have debated — but the meaning commonly attributed to them. When she supposedly said “let them eat cake”, it was a clear indication of an extremely wealthy person, inside her own little bubble, being oblivious to the real world outside it. Many of your statements over the past few days are strikingly similar:
“Let them work from home”, as if the average low income worker has that option. “Once someone is old enough to make a family, they will live in a house, with their own yard”, ignoring the fact that millions of Americans live in apartments, and many can’t afford to find housing of any kind. “Wealth is not defined on a national or international scale — it is only relative to your neighbors”. Poor little Marie didn’t have much money at all compared to Louis de Bourbon — she was merely average for the folks who lived at Versailles. Yes, the countryside was starving — but that was a different area. I suppose a multi-millionaire in Medina is not wealthy, because, well, they live in Medina.
I never knew it was so easy to increase your wealth! Just move to a poorer neighborhood. Just like that, you are wealthier.
Give me a freakin’ break. How ridiculous. First of all, there is a huge difference between wealth and income. Their is disparity in both, but a bigger disparity in wealth. But as far as income goes, the median individual income in the United States is a little over 30 grand. The median family income in the United States is roughly double that. Does it vary by state? Absolutely — but for Washington State it still only gets up to 73 grand (for the entire family). Any way you cut it, making 100 grand — for the entire family, mind you — is a shitload of money (especially given our nonexistent income tax). Maybe not to you (or the queen, back in the day) but to the rest of humanity, it is a fortune.
“To date there have been 1587 shootings in Chicago alone in 2021”
In a city of 2.7 million. And most of those shootings are in the south side, which has specific problems of political neglect.
When did I say that “reports of crime are just fiction?”
Anybody? Help me out here; I’m 75 and may be getting dotty, but I genuinely don’t remember saying that [or something like it].
Ross Robespierre. How did that revolution turn out?
Although many historians doubt Marie Antoinette ever said, “Let them eat cake”, most people misinterpret her intent.
In 1765 (when Marie Antoinette was 10), French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote a six part book titled Confessions. In this book, he recollects the words of a princess of his time, who said:
“Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”
Translated in English:
“Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche.”
The story goes that the people of France were starving. A poor crop harvest, rodents and a whole number of other factors led to an enormous bread shortage.
Like Ross, Marie Antoinette was not a devotee of humor or irony. The “cake” she was referring to most closely resembled a white angel food cake (brioche) without frosting that cost much less than bread since bread needs bread flour and butter, and is more filling.
In the end, Robespierre met the same fate as Marie Antoinette at the guillotine, and is probably directly responsible for more deaths than Antoinette, who was a simple princess before marriage.
The French Revolution lasted around 10 years, from May 5, 1789 until Nov. 7, 1999, when a young Napoleon Bonaparte was elected to the First Consul. It was a time of summary executions, anarchy, starvation, and the “reign of terror”, worse than anything under Marie Antoinette’s reign, and not uncommon in revolutions. The citizens actually welcomed Bonaparte, although like most dictators who used social chaos and hunger to gain power he was not totally honest about his intentions. But he did supply the masses with bread (and war).
To suggest a discussion about the levels of transit and spending in Seattle on August 5, 2021 is remotely related to the French Revolution, and Ross in Pinehurst is the equivalent of Robespierre, without understanding the revolution’s ten year toll on French society (and Robespierre’s) end result, shows a shocking lack of knowledge of history, and loss of perspective.
I am no more Marie Antoinette than Ross is Robespierre (who was a lawyer and did change history), and Seattle and the U.S. in 2021 is not remotely related to France in 1789, and thank God during the ten year revolution, or Bonaparte’s reigns.
So let’s put the false and inaccurate historical comparisons away, along with the hyperbole, and have a rational discussion about how much this area should spend on transit, where and what kind of transit, and if anyone has a solution for affordable housing — without the simplistic idea of simply upzoning — I am all ears.
Thanks for your history re Ireland, Mercer Island, walking, etc. I’ll respond when I have time to articulate my thoughts. I’ve been to Ireland and have some observations on its transit and layout situation.
I’ve been waiting for the 550 Sunday increase for a long time. Is it happening October 2021 or September 2022?
I agree, I’m also looking forward to the 550 frequency boost and curious as to when it will take place. It seems silly to be spending billions building frequent rail to Bellevue when the current bus service drops to half-hourly off-peak and mornings/evenings on weekends.
Funny TT, and correct, except the beauty is ST (i.e. the MOAT east King Co. subarea) not Metro the beggar would pay for the express buses — just like the subarea has paid 100% of the cross lake ST buses for years.
ST knows the game. Do everything you can to tap the excess reserves in the east King Co. subarea to massage funding deficits in other subareas, and for Metro.
Why anyone outside the east King Co. subarea would care how east KC spends its money baffles me. It isn’t as if the money can be spent in another subarea, or for Metro, unless it shifts Metro’s costs onto the east King Co. subarea.
Would you rather we spend the money on a $4.5 billion line from Issaquah to S. Kirkland? The fact is commuters from Issaquah actually go to downtown Seattle. They never go to S. Kirkland, and Ross has extolled (rightly) the cost and logistical advantages of buses over rail, especially in such undense areas.
Put it this way: name a better place to spend East King Co. reserves than some peak express buses from Issaquah to downtown Seattle. The cost would be well below the cost of current express buses.
Either we spend all this excess ST 2 and 3 revenue in east KC or we return it to the taxpayers.
The only way I can make any sense of that statement is if you mean the total cost of cross-lake express service. The cost per bus hour is a flat rate that Metro charges ST for driving and maintaining them.
So, is that what you meant?
If so, that’s not in ST’s wheelhouse. While some argument can be mooted that Federal Way is a “regional center” [allowing ST to provide bus service until Link opens], Coal Creek and Lake Hills are not.
They are all suburbs or neighborhoods of Bellevue and hence not ST’s responsibility. They are properly served only by Metro. Read the Sound Transit enabling legislation.
Downtown Bellevue is a regional center, vying with U-District for number 2. Hence the 550 between Downtown Bellevue and Downtown Seattle.
ST is playing fast and loose with the 535 service north of Issaquah. That is Metro’s responsibility; ST should butt-out.
If ridership wasn’t suppressed due to COVID, I would say yes. The closure of the P&R during construction demonstrably impacted 550, so the demand is certainly there post-Covid.
MI P&R has the best access to Seattle, so I doubt there will be much cannibalization from MI to S Bellevue. Instead, S Bellevue should initially pull in riders who parked further out.
There’s no reason that Metro can’t continue to provide peak expresses to downtown from I-90 and southend I-405 park-n-rides. Restructure the all-day service to areas east of Bellevue College and south of Factoria to serve one or the other of them and then go past South Bellevue on the way to downtown Bellevue. Some would go up Bellevue Way, a couple up 108th and the rest up 112th. Folks commuting entirely on the Eastside can use them if they’re convenient or STRide.
The peak expresses would end in SLU, continuing the exclusive service for MOTU’s from other areas to SLU on Fourth and Second Avenues away from the Seattle Slackers on the D and C lines.
What’s not to like? The self-declared “funders of Metro” get their own buses away from the Great Unwashed, Moat Island doesn’t have those icky transferees polluting the Holy Land, and Link can concentrate on its job of linking the regional centers of Redmond, Overlake, Spring District and downtown Bellevue to the rest of the region.
The link to the Metro service restoration plan looks like a local file:// URL (file:///C:/Users/Alex/Downloads/2021-B0102_ATT1_SvcRestor2022-Metro-Pres.pdf) – can this be fixed to be a http:// or equivalent link? Thanks!
It’s fixed now, my bad. Thanks for catching that!
We’ll have to see how it all shakes out. But with the Northgate Link restructure, there was a huge shift of service towards peak-only routes. It is quite possible that Metro is shifting money towards peak-only service, while ST does the opposite.
This is nuts, if you look at the service patterns. While I welcome the changes by ST, most of their routes are long distance commuter routes. In contrast, the bulk of Metro service is short-distance, urban-oriented service. The latter is far more responsive to frequency improvements. People don’t take spontaneous trips from Tacoma to Seattle, but they do take spontaneous trips from Lake City to Northgate. Bizarre to think that frequency is improving for the former, but getting worse for the latter.
I conceptually agree. The peak demand on long distance trips on ST appears to be the most suppressed during Covid. Is Metro seeing the same thing? Is that demand loss recoverable?
I wonder how ridership patterns and demand will be in 6 months. Hopefully it will be much more back to pre-Covid days. Even though this is called a 2022 situation, I expect tweaks in the spring service as riders return — especially with North Seattle service that will be restructured and with a bit speculative demand levels.
You mean a huge shift from peak-only service. Several express routes are truncated at Northgate.
No, I mean *Metro* is shifting service to peak-only. Metro is spending just about as much money on peak-only service to downtown. The only major cut in service is the 41, which runs a lot more buses in the middle of the day than rush-hour. If you are still spending a bundle on express buses during rush hour, but you’ve truncated your only midday express, then you’ve shifted service to peak-only.
For the average rider, it will be noticable. From Aurora Village, there used to be about 20 buses (each way) going downtown during rush-hour. Now there will be 17. But there will also be a lot of two-way buses going to Northgate (only during peak), which suggests a slight increase in overall (peak-only) service. Along the 522 corridor, there will be just as many Metro express buses to downtown as before (as many to prevent crowding). These only run during rush hour. Northgate will keep its express to downtown, but it will only run during rush hour. 33 buses will make the trip from downtown to Northgate during peak (302, 303, 361). None will run in the middle of the day. The 331, 345/346/347/348 will see a significant increase in frequency — but only during rush hour. It is quite likely that service to Northgate during rush hour will be as busy as ever, while frequency during the rest of the day gets reduced.
Any way you cut it, it is clear that Metro ended up favoring peak-only service with this restructure. Maybe they didn’t set out to do that, but at the end of the day, that’s what happened.
Part of the reason for what’s going on with Metro at Northgate is that service restructures take a huge time to plan, and the decision to prioritize peak commuters to Fred Hutch over all-day travelers was made years ago.
Sound Transit was able to achieve a net shift in service hours from peak to all-day, but that’s because 1) it’s shifting frequencies around existing routes, not creating/changing/deleting routes, which is easier to do and 2) The peak service was already reduced during COVID, so what’s left is the easier part of the change (increasing all-day service). If they tried to reduce peak service now to pay for more all-day service, they’d face more resistance.
Yes, a big part of the shift for Sound Transit is due to the fact that the peak-only buses aren’t full. That allows them to shift service without worrying about crowding. But they also made the decision to focus on feeder buses, instead of routes that mimic Link. The 522 is a great example. They could have run that bus to the U-District. They could have run it to First Hill, or South Lake Union. But they didn’t. They ran it as short as possible, and then put the savings into all-day service.
With Metro it was a bit more complicated, but they clearly didn’t take the same approach. They could have. They could have truncated the 41, and put all of that money into running all of the other buses more often. Buses like the 31/32, 44, 65, 75, 372 could all run every more often — in many cases every 10 minutes. Just as it was with Sound Transit, it could be a simple case of running the buses a lot more often to make up for the fact they will be truncated.
But instead, they initially put most of the money into the following:
1) A new (all-day) route, called the 61, connecting Greenwood, Northgate and Lake City.
2) Express service to various parts of downtown.
There were other important changes. A lot of revenue neutral housecleaning, like linking together different buses. Aurora Village gets bidirectional service during rush hour — minor things like that. The initial plan wasn’t bad, but then they ran into revenue pressure. This lead them to abandon the one significant improvement in all-day service (the 61). But they kept all of the express runs to downtown.
This is the big shift. Not only did Metro focus too much on peak-only service from the beginning, but now every improvement is peak-oriented. Peak only service will be great. Not only will be there dozens and dozens of buses connecting riders to Link, but riders will be able to ignore Link, and get downtown by bus as well. All of this is happening during rush hour, with no significant improvement outside of it. In many places, it will get worse. The 41 runs frequently in the middle of the day — running every 12 minutes. There are no plans to run the 75 (which takes over that section) as often. Along Northgate Way, the 20 will run less often than the 75. Meanwhile, this new 20, which replaces the old 26, will serve less of the city, losing its fast connection to downtown. Not only will we not see a substantial improvement in midday service, in many cases there will be a degradation. I’m not talking about having to transfer — I’m saying that the bus will come less often.
It really is striking. Peak-only service is seeing some huge improvements. But there is basically nothing outside of peak. I’m searching for signs of improvement — anything — but I’m coming up empty. Is the 79 better than the 71? Looks like a wash at best. The 26 is clearly worse, and the 73 is no better. In terms of service, everything looks the same, or worse. Maybe the 44 won’t see the proposed degradation, but I don’t know of any bus that will come more often outside of peak.
In the intersection between STBD and Metro funding, Route 19 may be in the same suspension boat as Route 47.
Note the fall 2021 retraction of STBD from lines C and D; Metro is cutting trips on several other routes to keep them split apart. Rehooking them might have required an ordinance; the split was in March 2016.
Both agencies seem conservative in not attempting structure change despite the pandemic and other simultaneous changes. SR-520 still has radial routes oriented to downtown Seattle despite UW Link and the closure of the Montlake Freeway stations. One-way peak-only routes still duplicate South Sounder. The I-90 peak routes have the same structure.
When traffic returns to the freeways and the CBD surface streets, transit times will slow again. The SDOT two-way cycle track on 4th Avenue will probably slow that corridor. It is still being used by CT, ST, and Metro suburban routes. The slowdown may be worse than that on 2nd Avenue after the PBL project took a lane, as 4th Avenue is more narrow than 2nd Avenue.
Ross is partly correct; there seems to a shift of hours to First Hill and SLU one-way peak-only routes, but with the CBD peak-only routes deleted, there is probably a net reduction.
Or maybe the city and Metro recognize that the separate C and D is superior to the combined route, and that the highest priority for bus service is to keep the full C, D, and E intact. All three lines have huge ridership increases over their predecessors, and address three major parts of the city that Link doesn’t. The full C serves SLU which has highrises, The full D and E keep Ballard and Aurora connected to the south part of downtown and the stadiums, which was Ballard’s biggest peeve when the combined route replaced the 15 and 18 local. And the full C and D overlap for double-frequency downtown, which addresses downtown’s huge north-south circulation needs, and is part of the long-range plan to consolidate the 3rd Avenue corridor into more RapidRide lines and fewer other lines. If you separate the C and D, that’s taking a step backward.
The D Line does not really serve the stadia; it reaches Terrace Street. The C Line now reaches Alaskan Way at South Jackson Street. We know that rides attracted per line increased; but that rides attracted per hour fell significantly. Route 120 or the H Line could serve SLU. How much more reliable were C and D after the split and is that worth the foregone shorter headway and waits if they had remained hooked together? Downtown Seattle does not a circulation shortage; that is one of many reasons the CCC Streetcar would be a weak project.
As is often the case, it is all about West Seattle. It doesn’t make much difference to Ballard if the C is tied with the D. Service from West Seattle is fast and consistent. But if you are waiting downtown for a ride to West Seattle, then the bus might be delayed if it has to slog through traffic over the Ballard Bridge. This could be improved with an investment in infrastructure, but it was simpler to just untie the routes.
There is no need to overlap downtown (there is literally more than enough service downtown) and other routes coming from the south can connect to South Lake Union. But until the Ballard Bridge mess can be fixed, folks in West Seattle (the most important riders in our system) would complain if their bus is delayed.
RossB: during the electric trolleybus era, between 1940 and 1963, routes 15 and 18 served both Ballard and West Seattle and were through routed across the Ballard Bridge. They were probably much more frequent. Ballard and West Seattle locals were through routed again in 1998 via 1st Avenue; they were routes 15 and 18 to the north and routes 21, 22, and 56 to the south; of course, West Seattle had AWV routes 54 and 55. 1st Avenue was disrupted by the AWV project in 2011. During that same era, routes 7 and 8 both connected downtown and the U District via Eastlake Avenue East; there was not yet an I-5; Route 7 served Rainier Avenue South. That was a long route. they threw frequency at the reliability issue.
Thanks eddie — that history is very interesting.
The C is the best route in the entire Metro system…why in the world would they ever consider combining it with the slow and unreliable D???
How much more reliable were C and D after the split and is that worth the foregone shorter headway and waits if they had remained hooked together?
The comparison of reliability for the C and D before and after the split is like night and day. Before the split, two Cs or Ds in a row was the standard, three in a row was not an uncommon sight.
Not to mention, the C/D was one of the longest non-peak bus routes, with only a few legacy through routes topping it. This meant that an incident in the far flung reaches of West Seattle could screw up downtown service from Ballard (and vice versa).
Finally, as has been touched on by others, decoupling the C and D restored service from Ballard to south downtown. Having the southern edge of “rapid” service at Seneca/Columbia for service from Ballard was the dumbest idea since the shortlived 61 (or maybe 62?) that operated from Shilshole to Fred Meyer that was a vestigial concession to the demise of the 46.
Sure, some people like to claim that it was only about the stadiums, but it was really about cutting half of the employment center off.
“ And the full C and D overlap for double-frequency downtown, which addresses downtown’s huge north-south circulation needs, and is part of the long-range plan to consolidate the 3rd Avenue corridor into more RapidRide lines and fewer other lines.”
This raises a curious question: If a second Downtown tunnel alignment is so desirable, why isn’t RapidRide E jogging to SLU and then using 4th and 5th. I realize that there are traffic management (and eventually light rail construction disruption) challenges for that — but it is curious that the second rail corridor alignment hasn’t been embraced as a RapidRide alignment.
If on the other hand, the planned second DSTT tunnel was closer to Third Avenue (platforms connected at the mezzanine level to University Street or Union/Seneca Station).
Never thought I’d see the day the 535 getting Sunday service.
Well, considering that ST wants to turn it into. RapidRide style line in 5 years, having a Sunday bus that runs at all today is a good place to start. I’ve said this multiple times on past threads.
For those looking for an excuse to ride it, you should check out the Tolt Pipeline trail, which goes by both Brickyard and Bothell. You can even ride the bus to one stop, walk the trail to the other, and ride the bus back. Not worth attempting even on the Saturday 535, which runs only once an hour. But, with the new schedule, I might try it.
How about this route for the 372? It goes through more density than the regular route without adding much distance.
One of the disadvantages I could see is that it runs closer to the 73 on 15th. The 73 isn’t great but it increases the distance some people would have to walk to the 65 (the other close frequent route), and there’s quite a bit of elevation change between 25th and 35th.
I noticed that the other day (I saw the bus and thought “WTF?” until I looked it up). I was thinking about it, and could actually see some long term advantage (it gets closer to a lot more people). That being said, it is significantly slower, especially northbound. Instead of just continuing on 25th until it becomes Lake City Way, it has to make a left, then a couple rights.
I think the basic combination of 372 and 522 makes the most sense. The 73 is moving to Roosevelt. If we wanted service on that part of 20th (to shrink the distance between buses), then I would rather have the 522 go down 20th (and take a right on 65th). If we need to save money, I would do the following:
1) Eliminate the 73, or at the very most, make it peak-only.
2) Send the 67 to the Pinehurst Safeway at 125th and 15th (assuming it can layover/turnaround there).
3) Send either the 372 or 522 to Kenmore. The other bus would end at the 41 terminus (by the Lake City Fred Meyer).
4) Add bus stops to the 522, along with pedestrian crossings for Lake City Way (e. g. 90th).
That saves a significant amount of service time on the 67 and 73. That would help pay for the service along the 522 route as Metro takes over the route. Sending the 67 up Roosevelt to Pinehurst Way and 15th helps solve the same direction transfer problem along 15th/Roosevelt. A transfer from the 347/348 to the 67 would be a same-stop transfer, instead of the horrible mess that exists now. With better crossings on Lake City Way, the folks who live close to Sacajawea can walk down to the bus, or walk from the bus on Roosevelt down to their house. That would create a significant gap, but there are bigger gaps within our system with more people in them (e. g. Sunset Hill, Blue Ridge, Broadview, various parts of West Seattle). Almost all of them have peak-only service though, which is why turning the 73 into a peak-only route would have some merit and be consistent.
I like your suggestion about extending the #67 to the Pinehurst Safeway but I don’t think there is a place in that location for a terminal or a turnaround.
You could have it continue on 15th Ave NE and have it terminate on NE 143rd at the same location as the #65 and #73 but then you would have it duplicate service on 15th Ave NE with #346 and #347. Or have it go east on NE 125th and terminate at the current #41 terminal but then you have it duplicate service on NE 125th with the #75.
Good suggestion but with some issues.
I’ve talked to someone from Metro about the turnaround, and they said it was promising, but would have to be studied first. I think that basically means taking a bus, and seeing if it can turn around there. But we both think it is plausible. There is a reason why buses often layover close to grocery stores. You have a comfort station, but you also have big trucks that navigate the the area. This would be the loop: https://goo.gl/maps/Tx3kDN1sXdPzuDQf9. There is plenty of layover space on 16th. Both 15th and 125th have buses on them now. Each street is plenty wide, and each corner already is curved. The only possible issue is the left turn from 123rd westbound to 15th southbound. At worst the city could add a light there, which would be most welcome by the neighborhood, given the number of people who routinely jaywalk there.
The backup is the layover for the 73. That was always what I had in mind, and I didn’t think of laying over by the Safeway until after the Northgate restructure was almost done. I regret not thinking of it sooner. The big advantage of laying over there is that it is shorter. Not only is it shorter than going to 145th, it is shorter than the existing 67. You reduce the overlap, but retain the great transfer. There are trade-offs, but as time goes on, the key element of the 67 is everything south of Northgate Way. You really don’t need another connection from Northgate to Roosevelt/UW — especially one that is so indirect. You definitely need service on Roosevelt Way between 65th and Northgate Way, and for a bus that serves that, the first potential layover is the Safeway at 125th. When Link gets to 130th and there is an east-west bus there, that would also add the connection to the corridor served by that bus (125th/130th/Greenwood/Shoreline CC). You can do all that (and more) by extending to 145th, but it costs more.
The problem with the reroute of the # 372 is that it leaves people who use the route on Ravenna Avenue between Lake City Way and 85th with no service unless they walk up to Lake City Way which is not easy as are there almost no streets between Ravenna Ave and Lake City Way in that location.
I have a friend who normally catches the bus at the NE 92nd stop and right now during the reroute she has to walk down to NE 98th to catch the bus which requires crossing Lake City Way and even with traffic lights is not a picnic. Returning home she has to get off at a temporary stop at NE 86th and walk home from there. She has some physical limitations so this reroute has caused her problems.
I have also caught the #372 at NE 92nd and it is convenient for me and others in the neighborhood to get on and off the bus. So making a suggestion to make the reroute permanent will not go over well.
The plan is that once the construction is done on Lake City Way between NE92nd and NE 95th the #372 will return to its regular route.
Mask Transit is dead! RIP!
Can we have a primary open thread after today’s results drop? The last open thread is getting too long to scroll through or find things in.
I like the Sound Transit Express service changes. I guess that’s because I ride the bus on weekends a lot. Not many people do, though – I know this because the buses are usually almost empty. (I mean, of course they are now, but even before Covid they were almost empty.)
Since the 541 is going away, maybe it’s time to give up on the Overlake Park-and-Ride, and stop sending the B on that weird detour onto 152nd Ave.
I was hoping they would restore the 541, at least until Overlake Village Station opens. An enormous number of new apartment units have become occupied in the immediate area in the past year. The 541 would serve them well, in advance of East Link opening. Agreed, though, that the B bus would serve the apartments just as well on 156th without the detour. At this point the apartments are a much more important trip generator than the park-n-ride, although the latter is sure convenient on bad weather days.
To clarify, though, decisions about the B bus and Overlake Park-n-Ride belong to Metro and not Sound Transit.
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